2.3 Westminster Massacre

Caption: Grave of one of the victims of the Massacre (Vermont Historical Society)

Not all of the Grants were under the protection of the Green Mountain Boys. Some towns had accepted the rule of New York and the higher quitrents [property taxes] they imposed, but as many could not make their payments due to drought, they were being foreclosed on [1]. In March 1775 angry settlers took the Cumberland County courthouse in Westminster. When the sheriff and a posse of loyal citizens tried to take it back, a shootout took place, resulting in the killing of two of the settlers and wounding others. The next day militia sympathetic to the cause of the settlers arrested the sheriff and freed men imprisoned during the riots. Allen arrived on the scene for the funeral of one of the men and coined the event the Westminster Massacre as a reference to the Boston Massacre [2]. The event only solidified Allen’s reputation as a defender of the settlers and the conflict had moved to an open violent rebellion.

Next Page: The Revolution Reaches the Grants


  1. Randall, Willard S. Ethan Allen: His Life and times. New York: Norton, 2011. 299.
  2. Ibid. 300.

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